Peel protesters fill public gallery at Yukon legislature

People protesting the government's plans for land use in the Peel watershed upstage Yukon government's budget day

Yukon government's budget day upstaged by environmental concerns

The Yukon government’s budget speech was upstaged Thursday afternoon by a group of protesters angry over the government’s stance on the Peel Watershed.

The government spent seven years and $1.6 million dollars working on land use recommendations for a large area in northeast Yukon. But it then rejected a key recommendation to preserve up to 80 per cent of the region from mining and other development. 

The government says it won’t ban mining in such a large area. 

More than 100 people were in the legislature’s public gallery to protest what they called a betrayal. Whitehorse resident Lee Mennell was one of the protesters. 

"The people running this country just have no vision of what's going on," Mennell said. "And when it's all gone they're just going to go oh crap it's all gone ah geez that's terrible, but why don't we wake up while we're here for god's sake and look at what we've got and enjoy this beautiful place."

Resources minister Brad Cathers kept repeating a stock answer to opposition questions about the Peel. Some of the protesters then turned their backs to the minister when he stood to answer questions.